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Journal Article

Curriculum Tracking and Status Maintenance

Beth E. Vanfossen, James D. Jones and Joan Z. Spade
Sociology of Education
Vol. 60, No. 2 (Apr., 1987), pp. 104-122
DOI: 10.2307/2112586
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112586
Page Count: 19
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Curriculum Tracking and Status Maintenance
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Abstract

Prior studies of the role of curriculum tracking in status maintenance have offered contradictory results, suggesting either that (1) tracking sorts children from different backgrounds into different curricular programs where they receive differential educational treatments; (2) tracking sorts children on the basis of ability rather than class background, thus facilitating social mobility; or (3) while tracking may sort children, it has little effect upon educational outcomes and thus has no role in status maintenance. This paper uses 1980s data from the High School and Beyond Study to estimate the effects of curriculum tracking over a two-year period on a number of dependent variables for students who have experienced only one track placement. The results show that there are substantial differences among students from different socioeconomic origins in ultimate track destination. Track location is modestly to moderately related to number of course taken, academic performance, educational and occupational aspirations, satisfaction with school, perceived values of friends, self-esteem, extracurricular participation and leadership, enrollment in postsecondary education, disciplinary climate, and teacher treatment. A reopening of the status maintenance hypothesis is suggested.

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